WHY DO YOU WANT TO STAY ALIVE?
“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”—Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall.
Surprise was not an adequate word to describe John’s state when the doctor gave his verdict. A verdict was what the diagnosis sounded like in John’s ears. “Your blood’s sugar is on the high side and you need to come in for treatment. You should watch what you eat; take more of vegetables, fruits and food rich in fibre. Reduce your starch intake,” the doctor said as he wrote on a piece of paper and gave it to John. “Take this to the Pharmacy and get the drugs prescribed. Ensure you use them as instructed and we’ll have you do another test next week. Let’s hope the situation improves.” He nodded to John as he prepared to attend to his next patient.
John stood up from his chair and thanked the doctor. He walked as if in a dream to the Pharmacy, got his drugs and headed home. Passing through the market to get the prescribed groceries, John kept thinking of the doctor’s words; blood sugar? That was what killed my father! John knew he must not allow the same monster to rob him of his dear life. He declared in his heart that at the tender age of 35, he was too young to die. He decided that if it meant giving up all his favourite foods, he must live up to 80 years! John shifted his thoughts to the amount of money in his pocket, room and bank account. He mentally calculated how the little resource could be stretched till month-end. Then it happened.
The sudden deafening noise startled him. He stopped walking and looked around. What he saw spurred him to action. Hawkers threw away their trays loaded with goods and ran. Pedestrians pushed against one another and ran. John realized they were all running towards his direction. Before he could reason, he joined them. John ran. He ran with all his might. His aim was to be among the first set to get to safety. He did get there. He rushed into the slightly opened gate of a residence, far away from the market. He opened the gate and ran in. He then sat on the bare ground and tried to stabilize his breathing. An elderly man came out of the house and saw John, dusty and tired, while sitting on the ground.
“Gentleman, what is the problem?” The elderly man asked as he drew closer to John.
“Sor-sor-sorry sir”, he stammered, slightly gasping for breath. “There was trouble in the market. I ran here.”
“Really? I also heard the noise. What was it about?”
“I, I don’t know.” John answered slowly. The elderly man smiled.
“So you don’t know what the trouble was, you just ran? Are you that scared of death?”
John lifted his bowed head and locked eyes with his host. He wondered why the man could be asking such a foolish question. However, not wanting to disrespect an elder, he shrugged before answering.
“Yes sir. I am afraid of death, just like everyone is.” The elderly man shook his head in disagreement. “No, not everyone; I am not. But, you tell me Mister, why are you afraid of death?” Assured he had full answer to the man’s question, John got up from the ground, dust himself and got ready to leave.
“Sir, who knows what is on the other side of life? Nobody. You must have been to a cemetery before sir; It is a silent and scary place. Who knows what the dead suffer after death? No, I am not ready to die.” John moved towards the gate as he finished his speech. “Wait.” He turned back at the elderly man’s plea. “One more question for you my friend. Why are you trying to live?” John pondered for five seconds before sharing his thoughts. “Well, the only thing I know is that I will stay here for as long as I can, because I have no idea what will happen to me next after leaving here.”
I shared the story of John with you to show you that an average man will do everything to avoid death; yet most people do not even know the most important reason of staying alive. A good percentage of the world’s population think like John, but they could be no further from the truth. Many people want to live here and now because they feel it is better and safer to be here. What they do not know, however, is the difference between living in life and merely existing in life.
A wise man once said, “don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” John was afraid of death because he had no clue about what he was born to do in life and where he was going afterwards. If anytime you remember death, what grips your heart is fear, you should be sure that you are doing something wrong. Death is only there to let you know that your life is worth living; any time death comes to your mind, it is to remind you that you are to be living for your purpose in life; because a time will come, that you will no longer have a chance to do that.
People are paying large sums of money to stay alive, and to live for as long as possible. But how many people are truly convinced about the most important reason to stay alive? Most people are just wanting to continue living but few people are being concerned about their effectiveness on earth.
Why do people strive to stay longer on earth? It seems the main reason many people want to be here is because they feel it may still be better to be here. Parents want to stay alive so that their children would not become orphans; spouses want to be alive to prevent loneliness for their loved ones. Young ones want to live longer so that they too can enjoy marriage and have children; some want to be alive in order to make more money and have greater affluence. Still some, like John, in the above story, want to be able to prevent history from repeating itself; he did not want to die like his father. And there is a category of people that want to be alive to just prove their enemies wrong.
If you find yourself wanting to stay alive just for any combination of the afore-mentioned reasons, you are missing an important mark. The Creator sent you to the earth for a reason, and the earlier you align yourself with His purpose for you, the quicker you can start maximizing your time on earth. Lauren Oliver’s quotation at the beginning of this article admonishes you that you do not have all the time; all you are most sure of is today, and you never really know. Therefore, it is the best decision to maximize every moment of one’s life by making sure to live an effective life day after day.
Please examine if your reason for wanting to remain on the earth for as long as possible is the same as your Creator’s reason for sending you to this earth. There is nothing wrong in living a long life but the tragedy of our time is that many cherish a long life so much in place of an effective life. If only the vigour with which people pursue long life is the same as the vigour they use to pursue an effective life, our world would be a better place to live in.
To be continued Tomorrow, don’t miss it!
Excerpts from the Book “HOW TO LIVE AN EFFECTIVE LIFE”. #DSABOOKS
This book can be found on dsabooksplanet.com and Amazon.com
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
BY DR. SUNDAY ADELAJA